Population trends and late-life disability in Hispanics from the Midwest

Carlos F. Mendes De Leon, Karl Eschbach, Kyriakos S. Markides

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives: To describe the growth of the Hispanic population in the Midwest states of the United States, to present disability levels in older Mexican and non-Mexican-origin Midwest Hispanics by place of birth and poverty status, and compare disability levels among older Midwest Hispanics with those among Southwest Hispanics as well as non-Hispanics Whites and African Americans in each region. Method: Population data come from decennial U.S. Census Bureau surveys. Disability data for adults ≥ 50 years old come from the 2008 American Community Survey. Results: The Hispanic population in the Midwest has tripled since 1980 and now constitutes 6.6% of the entire Midwest population. Older Midwest Hispanics are somewhat younger, have a higher male-female ratio, and are more likely to be born outside the continental United States than Southwest Hispanics. In the Midwest, foreign-born Mexican American men report the lowest disability levels. Foreign-born Hispanic women of non-Mexican origin report the highest disability levels. Overall, older Hispanics have intermediate disability levels relative to non-Hispanic Whites and African Americans. Midwest Hispanics report less disability than Southwest Hispanics. Discussion: There is substantial heterogeneity in late-life disability among Midwest Hispanics, which may be related to place of birth and of origin. Future research is needed to examine age at immigration and health selection as potential reasons for low disability levels among foreign-born Mexican American men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1166-1188
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of aging and health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Hispanics
  • disability
  • immigration status
  • regional differences
  • socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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